Lifestyles LIFESTYLES

BT chat lines

I can remember in the mid 80s BT launching a telephone chat line. I think it must have been the first of its kind in the UK and i even remember the advert featuring the BT Buzzby Bird! It was clearly aimed at loners and vulnerable teens and cost a fortune. You would call the number and end up in a "chatroom" with loads of others, all talking at the same time (like an early type internet chat room).

I can rememebr my mum would work nights and i would spend hours on the chatlines (which in those days were very innocent and manned by an opperator, not like today's filth!) talking with loads of people all trying to chat each other up.

I can also rememeber when the plug was pulled (probably due to the massive phone bills parents up and down the country were receieving) it was at 5pm one friday afternoon and there was a host of us all crying down the phone to each other, pledging to be friends forever, as if it was the last day of term and then the line just went dead! That was the last i ever heard of them. Mind you i doubt anyone had actually used their real name or been honest about themselves.


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BT chat lines Last post by ayrshireman
19 April 2013

Do You Remember BT chat lines?

Do You Remember BT chat lines?

  • Anonymous user
    on
    Hello, I was the manager and monitor of the first BT Talkabout in Bristol in 1983. The BT new business group had the center of town dug up to lay the lines. We operated 5 banks of 10 lines. Some were the teenage number and the rest adults, no swearing, no giving phone numbers, although to the delight of some night workers on a switch board, they could magically reappear,having been cut off within seconds, to give final digits! It was a total hoot, we used to hold quizzes on line and send, sweatshirts, pens, key rings etc to winners. We also held night events in clubs for meet ups. We also held a tug of war on pontoons in the harbour for charity. We could take an individual caller out of the group for a warning. It was 24 hour service and our busiest times were when the rest of the world were asleep. I made many friends, some I'm still in touch with now. I was even introduced to my late husband by a caller. Once the Bristol office showed such success it expanded to Birmingham, Leeds, etc then 4 centers in London. We had celebratries like, cliff, alias smith and jones, to do voice overs on the introction message, proclaiming, just say no to drugs, remember it was the President Regan era. We also had celebs who were performing at local theatres to talk live to callers for a few hours. The fellow who dressed up as busby, if it was in Bristol, at5 our Busby Smirnoff night, I prob know lol. All monitors used a pretend name. I remember one Christmas we sent out scripts to regulars and had an online panto. Even though we have all sorts of media now, in those days we were all physically talking to one another. Anyway just thought I'd share my memories.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    It first started in bristol, after a few months a group of us chatters met up and we organised a few publicity events one of which i dressed as buzzby.
  • VANHELSING
    on
    I didn't actually join these chatlines but I did hear they got quite a bad press. Th nearest I've gotten are internet forums.
  • Jubblyjue
    on
    God I remember it well. My mum and Dad owned a shop so each night I would spend an hour or two on chatline. I LOVED it!!! Till they got a £342.00 phone bill. man did I get my ass kicked.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I remember every Saturday night when mum and dad were out, me and my sister would dial 00550033 and listen to everyone flirting with each other and trying to be cool. We would never speak.